Two Rivers: Porter’s Pride

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First off: this stuff looks the part.  If you want to experience how the porter style probably was back at it’s inception in the 1700’s then Porter’s Pride is the way to go.  It’s advertised as a brown porter, but due to roastiness in the taste that I experienced, I reckon it’s almost in the robust porter category.

Porter’s Pride pours with a crazy big head, it’s a little over-carbonated from the bottle conditioning – but soon calms down

The label says there’s brown malt and you can’t half smell it; the aroma is malty, a little bit roasty and chocolatey in the extreme…it also has a bit of minerality as well as some unexpected fruity yeast-type phenolics.  I’d love to know what strain of yeast these folks are using…

The taste is a a real mouthful of malt and again those almost fruity phenolic notes…God, I’d love it if these folks at Two Rivers were using a Belgian yeast strain; maybe they’re just using open fermenters?  Either way it’s a great touch and really makes this beer stand out.

This is a very accomplished beer and I liked it a lot.  Maybe Two Rivers could work in a tiny bit of smoked malt to make Porter’s Pride feel even more authentic than it already is?  All malt in the days of yore was kilned over charcoal or coke, so some smokiness would add even more authenticity!

Good work, Two Rivers…although your website seems to be fadged at the moment:

http://denverbrewery.co.uk/

Osett Brewery: Treacle Stout

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Do you like treacle? I like treacle pudding, but would I like treacle stout?

The pint arrived and had a huge strong treacle aroma backed with heavy dark malts.  It looked viscous, thick, and…well…treacle-y.

Funnily enough there was a strong treacle influence in the taste with a medium bitterness, again we get the heavy malts and some roastiness, but the whole thing was just so treacle-infused that I didn’t notice much else. The aftertaste was – predictably enough – treacle-based with a very mild bitterness on the back edge.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad…it’s not bad at all.  It’s just VERY treacle-based.  If you like treacle, you’ll love this.  I thought it was OK, but I wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it.

http://www.ossett-brewery.co.uk/Beers/CoreRange/tabid/1617/Default.aspx

Dark Star: American Pale Ale

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Only a short post, as this pint was enjoyed on a work night out at the St. Aldates Tavern (http://staldatestavernoxford.co.uk/)

A good looking golden-coloured pint, with some hoppiness on the nose – hung upon a lovely background of malt, a very nicely balanced aroma profile.

From the taste, an excellent attacking hop bitterness with good malt balance.

On the aftertaste, a pervasive bitterness that brings on a rather amusing tongue tingle

This is brewed in the true spirit of the American Pale Ale, but is still not mental enough: the bitterness was great – well done Dark Star – I just think the aroma hopping needs to be pushed to stratospheric levels to really get the juices flowing.!

http://darkstarbrewing.co.uk/beer/

Mayfields Brewery: Auntie Myrtle

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Now for an offering by the Mayfields folks out of Herefordshire.  Apparently this is a single hop beer (English fuggles) – which you don’t tend to see too often…

Auntie Myrtle pours a nice amber colour, with a small off-white head.

The aroma is a bit of wood, fruity yeast and dark malts.  There’s a tiny little bit of wood in the aroma too, but not so much that you’d notice.

The flavour is very much led by that yeasty fruitiness – which overlays a solid maltiness, the maltiness being inspired by the darker and crystal varieties.  There’s another interesting sort of bucolic earthiness taste in the mix too – probably due to that distinctive yeast.

The aftertaste it’s not a million miles away from the taste, and accompanies a decent enough bitterness too.

I reckon that a bit of Auntie Myrtle would be perfect with your Christmas nuts.  (See, there’s always a few column inches available for some seasonal smut.)

http://www.mayfieldsbrewery.co.uk/#!beer/c11rf

Saltaire Stateside IPA

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What with Christmas stampeding up and two young children stampeding about the place it’s all been rather hectic – hence the small hiatus in my postings.  But never fear, I’m back for a couple more before we all end up teetering on the brink of yet another new year.

Does anyone have a clue what happened to to 2013?  It was all a bit of a blur…

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be given a Saltaire Stateside IPA when visiting friends near Wallingford.

Now, I now that we’ve had some US IPA pretenders over the last few weeks, but this is one Yorkshire-made beer that almost pulls it off…

Stateside poured a clear amber-copper colour with a lively white head that disappeared very rapidly.  No haze in the beer – which normally means that it’s not been dry-hopped nearly enough…but I guess the English are used to having bright beer, so bright beer they shall have.

The aroma was quite malty with some decent enough hoppiness and a leading edge of citrus.

Upon tasting, a reasonable carbonation made way for a solid maltiness and a really excellent bitterness.  Crisp citrussy hoppiness popped about in the mouth and complemented the bitterness – which helped to stitch the whole package together quite neatly.

Well worth it.  I enjoyed it enormously.  It’s not quite a US IPA – but it’s certainly the best with these sort of pretensions I’ve had in a while.

http://saltairebrewery.co.uk/saltaire/?page_id=16

Elmtree Beers: Dark Horse Stout

20131202_194409I don’t know about you but over the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself becoming a little tired of the same old “brown” beer.  There’s nothing wrong with our English beer styles themselves per se, it’s the execution by some breweries that I find so disheartening…

I’ve had far too many pints of generic bitter/ale…all of which were just so (and I hate myself for using the word) “Meh“.

Brewers, you really need to start pumping these stock beers up, or exploring a different angle to make them really stand out.  Much as it pains me to say it, I’ve had at least four pints over the last two weeks that were so weakly paltry and instantly forgettable that I didn’t even bother to review them (and if you think I’m going to say “My bad“, you’ve got another think coming.  I ruthlessly hunt down and dismember anyone using that phrase within earshot…)

So it’s a blinking good job that the folks at Elmtree Beers have got their heads screwed on right.  I had a bottle of their Dark Horse Stout from my Beers of Europe selection – which is starting to wane alarmingly.  Hint Hint.

Dark Horse looks like a good stout should: black and sporting a very interesting-looking nice dark tan head…which immediately made me think that this was going to be a good experience.

The aroma wasn’t desperately complex, but it was powerful and solid: darkly roasty, espresso coffee and bitter caramel.  No jaggedy bits or weird angular projections, this was a solid slab of smooth aroma.  Lovely.

The taste followed on from the gorgeous, nay sumptuous mouth feel…which felt a bit like drinking single cream.  The taste was heavily roasted, and bitter and dark and mysterious and satisfying.

At the swallow a beautifully judged bitterness flooded in and helped to re-awaken those perfect roasted flavours.

When all’s said and done this is an excellent, refined and very tasty stout.  A perfect example of what brewers should be doing to get people all excited about English styles.

I will definitely be having Dark Horse again and again and again.  And, oh look, there’s a couple of other Elmtree bottles to try in my selection, I’ll let you know how they are – they’re bound to be good.

http://www.elmtreebeers.co.uk/

Courage: Light Ale

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Oh my crikey, I’ve just stepped into a time-machine and re-connected with my youth.

Can you imagine that back then – when I was *a-hem* eighteen the nearest we had to proper beer in our local was Wells Bombardier on hand-pull and farty old Wadworths 6x (Sorry, Wadworths)  Sure, it had loads of piss-flavoured lager, but that didn’t count…

We used to drink the horrible Morland Keg bitter with a lemonade top, mainly because we were young and stupid, but clever enough to know that that that keg stuff was shit.

Morland Keg didn’t get asked for at the bar as “a pint of ditch water, please” for nothing…

If we were feeling flush we could also buy light and bitter, which was half-and-half shit keg bitter with a Courage light ale; it was passable and at least made the bitter half-drinkable.

Anyway, Eve saw some bloke at the Chipping Norton Friday market flogging off bottles of Courage light ale for a quid a pop, so she bought me one to review…even though said bloke was somewhat crestfallen to discover that she wasn’t going to buy the whole case.

This is going to be a short review as this is a short beer…

Beautiful clear and golden burnish colouration, with a wispy, disappeary sort of head.

Very light reedy malts combine with very light lilting hops to make up a very faint but evocative aroma (maybe for me, only, though.)

Courage light ale is way over-carbonated which is a good thing as it probably helps to mask the thinness of body.  You know how soda water is, where you can taste the CO2?  That’s what this is like.   In the taste is also some malt and a little bitterness.

It’s so light it nearly blew out of the glass and out of the window.  It’s not bad, it’s not bad at all.  It’s just not good.

Still it took me back down memory lane for a while – which I’m thankful for…